25th Febuary 2003 (# 5) News Clippings Digest
1. SYDNEY MORNING HERALD Not Just Dykes On Bikes: Gay & Lesbian
Mardi Gras Parade reinvents the wheel to let boys bring their
2. SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE Guilty plea in Araujo killing;
Defendant makes deal, testifies against friends
3. SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS Defendant pleads guilty in transgender
teen's death; He implicates three others in 'Tony Soprano-like plan'
as part of plea bargain
4. THE STATE NEWS (Michigan State University) Activists to receive
5. HONOLULU ADVERTISER LGBTI group says University of Hawai`i's
hate-crime stance is weak
Sydney Morning Herald, 26 February 2003
GPO Box 506, Sydney NSW 2001 Australia
(Phone: +61/2/9282 2822) (E-Mail: letters@... )
( http://www.smh.com.au/ )
Parade reinvents the wheel to let boys bring their pulsating machines
By Anthony Dennis
For a decade and a half they've injected the grunt into
annual Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras Parade, kick-starting the event
roar of Harleys and Hondas up the Golden Gay Mile of Oxford Street.
Until this year the Dykes on Bikes - the famed lesbian
club - have had the street to themselves, but at Saturday's parade
be joined by a bunch of blokes on bikes.
Don Quirk, president of the Roadrunners, a gay male
equivalent of the
Dykes, says he and his fellow riders have never wanted to steal the
fuel-injected thunder from the Dykes on Bikes.
For the past 15 years the Roadrunners have been respectful of
traditional Dykes on Bikes parade dominance and have not approached
organisers over participation.
Nevertheless, Mr Quirk says the Roadrunners have always hoped
part. He says this year's resurgent Mardi Gras, formed from the
wreckage of its bankrupt predecessor, is returning to the grassroots
providing an opportunity for a break with tradition. Now there is
room - or
should that be vroom - for two groups.
"Dykes on Bikes have always provided a great warm-up for the
Mr Quirk said. "But with the new Mardi Gras there's been a real
community awareness and participation."
This year organisers said they wanted "some of the old and
the new". The Roadrunners will be one sign of a new start.
The Dykes on Bikes profile is likely to be higher than ever
year marks the 25th anniversary of the parade and their 15th year of
The group was responsible for one of the highlights of last
Gay Games opening ceremony - a motorised formation ride inspired by
Olympic Games Australian stock-horse segment.
The Roadrunners' parade debut on Saturday will see them
small, with 30 motorcycles compared to almost 200 for the Dykes on
Dykes on Bikes president Janet Parkins says the group is
be joined by the Roadrunners.
"We're ecstastic the boys will be joining the parade," she
"It's been a long time coming. But we know our place ... is to be
we'll be happy to rev up the crowd again."
San Francisco Chronicle, February 25, 2003
901 Mission St., San Francisco, CA, 94103
(Fax: 415-896-1107 ) (E-Mail: letters@... )
( http://www.sfgate.com/chronicle )
Guilty plea in transgender killing
Defendant makes deal, testifies against friends
Henry K. Lee, Chronicle Staff Writer
In a dramatic turn, one of four men accused of murdering
transgender teen Gwen Araujo pleaded guilty Monday to a lesser
testified against his three friends.
The plea bargain by Jaron Chase Nabors, 19, provided the
with a powerful witness who described discussions he had with his
friends in the days leading up to the slaying of the teen, who lived
Nabors, who led authorities to Araujo's body in a shallow
months ago, told the court during a preliminary hearing that he had
a letter claiming the men had discussed a "Soprano-type plan"
to "kill the
b-- (Araujo) and get rid of her body."
But it was unclear from his testimony whether the plan
alluded to in
the letter was actually made.
He had written the letter for a girlfriend after his arrest
he was in Santa Rita Jail in Dublin. Sheriff's officials
Nabors also testified that in the week before Araujo's
four friends debated whether Araujo was indeed female. He said they
agreed that "something bad could happen" to any man who dressed like
if she was to meet a "really bad guy."
Monday, he described in graphic detail how one of the men,
Antonio Merel, 22, struck Araujo in the head with a metal skillet
and others discovered that Araujo, 17, was biologically male.
Merel and Michael William Magidson, 22, had become worried
Araujo's gender after having oral and anal sex with her in the weeks
the fatal confrontation at Merel's home the night of Oct. 3, Nabors
At one point during the attack, Araujo begged, "No, please
have a family," Nabors said. Sylvia Guerrero, Araujo's mother, and
relatives sitting in the Fremont courtroom wiped away tears.
The testimony came at a preliminary hearing to determine
Merel, Magidson and Jason Cazares, 22, should be tried on charges of
and committing a hate crime in the death of Araujo, who was born
Araujo but had been living as a young woman.
Nabors pleaded guilty Monday to voluntary manslaughter and
receive a prison term of 11 years under the deal with prosecutors.
Alameda County Superior Court Judge Kenneth Burr asked Nabors
he understood that the murder charge could be reinstated if he
remorse" and prosecutors found "you're not living up to your end of
"Yes, your honor," Nabors replied.
The plea deal - and Nabors' promise to testify truthfully
other men - was greeted warmly Monday by Araujo's family, who
outside the courthouse with "Happy Birthday" balloons.
"There's a celebration in heaven going on now. That was very
comforting to come in this morning and have that happen," Guerrero
"And what a more perfect day for that to have occurred."
Gloria Allred, a Los Angeles attorney representing Araujo's
said she believed Nabors to be a credible witness.
"I don't think this was a good morning for the other three
defendants, knowing that one has basically decided to enter a plea
testify, but it's a good day for us," Allred said.
Nabors' attorney, Robert Beles of Oakland, said his client
the plea deal because the risk of a lengthy prison term for a murder
conviction was too great.
"Jaron has accepted responsibility for his role in this
Beles said Nabors did not assault Araujo but made numerous
as to what he did after the killing in the letter to his girlfriend,
proved to be a major factor in the plea deal.
Nabors testified that Merel and Magidson met Araujo in
later questioned the youth's gender because Araujo - who went by the
"Lida" - would claim to be menstruating and recommend anal sex,
Araujo would also push away their hands during sex to prevent
from determining her gender, Nabors said Merel and Magidson told him.
Nabors testified that he knew his friends, who have gotten
fights before, would become angry if they discovered the truth about
"When people do them wrong, they stand up for themselves," he said.
On the night of the party, Merel said, "I swear, if it's a f--
I'm gonna kill him. If it's a man, she ain't gonna leave," Nabors
A woman who was at the party, Nicole Brown, testified last
she grabbed at Araujo's genitals in a bathroom confrontation and
out, "It's a f-- man."
Nabors said he saw Araujo in the bathroom, her head
looked like someone whose secret had just come out," he testified.
Magidson then pushed Araujo to the ground and pulled down her
and her underwear before choking her, Nabors said, adding Magidson
practiced a choke-hold on him.
Merel began crying and said in disbelief, "I can't be f--
Nabors testified. Merel struck Araujo with a can and skillet,
Nabors said he and Cazares then went to Cazares' home to get
shovels and "kill that b--."
According to police, the group dragged a semiconscious Araujo
Merel's garage, where they tightened a rope around her neck until she
appeared to be dead.
Araujo's body - with hands and feet bound and clad in the
Araujo had worn at the party - was found two weeks later in a
in the Sierra foothills.
Nabors will resume testifying today.
. E-mail Henry K. Lee at hlee@....
San Jose Mercury News, February 25, 2003
750 Ridder Park Drive, San Jose, CA, 95190
(Fax: 408-271-3792 ) (E-Mail: letters@... )
( http://www.bayarea.com/mld/mercurynews )
Defendant pleads guilty in transgender teen's death
He implicates three others in 'Tony Soprano-like plan' as part of
By Yomi S. Wronge and Matthai Chakko Kuruvila, Mercury News
One of four defendants in the Eddie "Gwen" Araujo case
plea to guilty Monday and testified he and three friends acted
out "a Tony
Soprano-like plan to kill" the transgender Newark teenager.
Hours after pleading guilty to voluntary manslaughter as part
plea bargain, Jaron Chase Nabors said that one defendant beat Araujo
the head with a soup can and then slammed a skillet into the Newark
In a jailhouse letter to his girlfriend, Nabors described how
killing mirrored a crime that could have fit into the plot of his
elevision show, "The Sopranos." Nabors, whose son, Anthony, is
the lead character in the show, said he and a co-defendant talked
hypothetical scenario days before the killing.
Nabors and the three other men were accused of killing Araujo
they found out that the girl they knew as Lida was anatomically male.
At one point during the beating, Nabors said, he and co-
Jason Cazares drove away. He asked his friend where they were going.
Cazares replied bluntly: "We're going back to my house to get some
because they're going to kill that bitch," Nabors said.
The 19-year-old Fremont resident had originally been charged
first-degree murder with a hate crime enhancement, along with Jose
23, of Newark, and Fremont residents Cazares, 23, and Michael
Under terms of the plea agreement, Nabors will spend 11 years
prison, instead of the minimum 25-year sentence he would have faced
convicted of first-degree murder. Prosecutors dropped the hate crime
enhancement against him.
Even before changing his plea, Nabors had cooperated with
leading them to Araujo's body near South Lake Tahoe. Since his
been separated from his friends, kept safe in protective custody.
his continued safety, the district attorney's office has agreed to
he be transferred to another part of the state or a federal prison.
Monday, Nabors gave his firsthand account of what happened on
and the days leading up to Araujo's death. Araujo would have turned
Although Nabors said he always had doubts about Araujo's
said his friends became suspicious only after comparing stories of
sexual escapades with the teen. Both Merel and Magidson engaged in
with Araujo, and they started to question Araujo's reasons for only
that type of intimacy.
While talking over their suspicions, Nabors testified, Nabors
Magidson "went off on a Tony Soprano-like plan to kill" Araujo and
of the body.
It all culminated in the early morning hours of Oct. 4, when
and the three other defendants confronted Araujo at Merel's kitchen
At one point Nicole Brown, a former girlfriend of Merel's older
Paul, went into a bathroom with Araujo and checked for male genitals.
Jose Merel declared if Araujo was indeed male, he said he was
to "kill him," Nabors testified.
After Araujo's gender was discovered to be anatomically male,
said he instructed Magidson to keep the scene clean. Magidson
tried to choke Araujo. Merel became increasingly disturbed by the
he had had sex with a boy.
After crying to his younger brother, wailing that "I can't be
Merel finally erupted, according to Nabors.
After being slapped twice by Merel and Magidson, Nabors said,
pleaded for them to stop.
"No, please don't. I have a family," Nabors said, recalling
He said Merel went to his kitchen and retrieved a soup can to
When the can dented, Merel ran back and got a 10-inch skillet
smashed that across Araujo's forehead, Nabors said.
Three times witnesses successfully stopped Magidson from
to choke Araujo. But each time, Magidson would resume squeezing
neck, according to Nabors. Twice, Cazares threatened to punch
he didn't stop, prompting Magidson to release Araujo.
Eventually, Nabors said, Cazares posed a question: "Are you
a street term that questions a person's loyalty.
"I said yeah," Nabors testified.
It was then Cazares and Nabors drove away in Magidson's truck
When they returned to the Merel home with three shovels and a
Nabors said, they saw Araujo sitting on the couch, hands on lap, head
bloodied. Merel and Magidson stood silently across from Araujo.
"Jose said, 'The blood's getting everywhere'" and that he had
clean it up, Nabors said.
Nabors' testimony will resume today. His attorney, Robert
said Nabors hates having to turn on his friends and has "no
Nabors' plea comes on the heels of a jailhouse letter he
wrote to his
girlfriend, in which Nabors implicated not only himself but also the
defendants. That letter, which was previously sealed, prompted his
to seek the deal, Beles said.
"We did it rather than run the risk of this young man never
out of jail and never seeing his child," Beles said.
At it stands, Nabors will spend the next decade behind bars
from his 1-year-old son.
. Contact Yomi S. Wronge at ywronge@... or (510)
The State News, February 25, 2003
Michigan State University
343 Student Services Bldg., East Lansing, MI, 48824
(Fax: 517-353-2599 ) (E-Mail: opinion@... )
( http://www.statenews.com/ )
Activists to receive LBGT awards
By Allison Lucy, The State News
History junior Ebon Pinson said a lot of people don't tend to
understand lesbian, bisexual, gay or transgender people.
"They have their own biases and prejudices," Pinson, founder
president of MSU Same Gender Loving Students of Color, International
students and Allies said, adding the misunderstanding is the reason
spends so much time trying to straighten out misconceptions.
"Many people don't understand that LBGT is a culture," he
"It's very important to volunteer because you can gain an
learn about a culture."
Volunteering and actively taking part in the LBGT community
reason nine activists, including four MSU students, will be honored
10th anniversary of the Prism Awards Ceremony on March 7.
The Lansing Association for Human Rights, the organization
the event, will also give out 30 certificates awarding community
active in contributing.
Social relations junior Natalie Furrow, management graduate TJ
Jourian, interdisciplinary humanities senior Nicole Ramp and Pinson
with MSU alumna Carrie Rowe and LCC Trustee Todd Heywood have spent
significant time within the LBGT community, volunteering and working
bring more awareness of LBGT issues into the Lansing area. Other
include the Rev. Jon Lacy, Joseph Marutiak and Susan Crocker.
Heywood, the spokesman for the awards, said volunteering is
in all aspects of the world.
"I think volunteerism is absolutely essential," Heywood
important because it gets us out there as well as provides a support
for those who are just coming out because it helps to have a role
Heywood became an activist in 1990 and has since won two
for community advancement and advocacy. He is also the first openly
serving on a board of higher education in Michigan.
Rowe, the Prism Awards producer, is also being honored for
She is the secretary of the Lansing Association for Human Rights and
also been an active member on the Lansing Equal Rights Task Force
Lesbian Alliance. Rowe describes herself as a human rights activist
added LBGT is a civil rights issue and volunteering is important.
"People are generally more committed into something they have
personal connection to," she said.
"If you're part of a minority group and you're in a situation
needs some work in this world then that is generally something you
Furrow is the chairperson of MSU's Alliance of
Lesbian-Bi-Gay-Transgendered and Straight Ally Students, attends LBGT
meetings in the residence halls on campus and is involved in several
"As a whole, the LBGT community is marginalized and
against," she said.
"I think that it's always important to understand how multiple
impressions and identities interact to intensify the
Furrow said the strongest quality a leader can have is the
willingness and ability to change and learn.
"No one is perfect and no one can understand every issue,"
"But if you're willing to recognize your own flaws you can
Honolulu Advertiser, February 25, 2003
P. O. Box 3110, Honolulu, HI, 96813
(Fax: 808-525-8037) (E-Mail: letters@... )
( http://www.honoluluadvertiser.com )
Dobelle's hate-crime stance is weak, group says
By Walter Wright, Advertiser Staff Writer,
University of Hawai'i President Evan Dobelle said yesterday
university will not tolerate intimidation of people based on their
orientation or gender identity.
A commission representing members of the "lesbian, gay,
transgender and intersex" (LGBTI) communities on campus has been
Dobelle for a policy statement, in the wake of alleged assaults on
Ku'umealoha Gomes, chairwoman for the commission, said last
Dobelle's statement was not strong enough, partly because it did not
expulsion of any student or employee who behaves in a way intended
physical harm to another because of gender identity or sexual
In his statement, Dobelle said that in recent months a few
the LGBTI community "have been subjected to hate crimes, assaults and
Dobelle said, "I deeply regret that these incidents have
commit the full force of the office of the President to ensure that
... do not continue."
Dobelle could not be reached for further comment. But Amy
liaison to the LGBTI community, said the reference appeared to be
the two residence hall incidents, the most recent of which is still
In one case last spring, a transgendered student was
struck by an unknown assailant in a residence hall. The more recent
allegedly involved a similar physical assault, Agbayani said.
There have also been a number of cases of insensitive or
graffiti, Gomes said.
Dobelle praised a number of university programs dealing with
issues and urged students and employees to participate in diversity
civil rights workshops that will be offered next year.
. Reach Walter Wright at wwright@...
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